Partnered with a ground crew predominately made up of fellow pilots, Dick Guisto, Mike Florio, and Vinnie Melling harness their commercial-pilot expertise for each Aerostat Promotions flight. After a half-hour of balloon inflation and preparation, up to four guests join their pilot at sunrise or 2.5 hours before sunset for an hour-long flight that affords aerial views of the Pioneer Valley’s breathtaking landscapes, abundant wildlife, and residential homes. Meanwhile, a chase team tracks the balloon from terra firma as it traverses approximately 10 miles of sky. Once visitors and their pilot rendezvous with the team, balloons are packed into a truck or twisted into to-scale elephant balloon animals before the group shares a champagne toast and appetizers.
At Pro-Fitness Plus, a professional staff of trainers and nutritionists help clients of all ages and fitness levels achieve their desired results, whether they’re looking to tone up, stay healthy, or slim down. Members can take advantage of more than 350 pieces of equipment ranging from 110-pound dumbbells to recumbent bikes, treadmills, and cross-trainers. The 46,000-square-foot space also features a full outdoor basketball court, 50-inch plasma TVs, and locker rooms equipped with saunas for steaming healthy bowls of broccoli.
Divided between two locations in Manchester and Nashua, Vertical Dreams' 15,000 square feet of simulated mountainside are packed with obstacles and tough sections to challenge climbers of all skill levels. At the Manchester gym, gutted elevator shafts lined with hand grips extend four stories upward, creating 70-foot vertical surfaces. The Nashua location boasts 10,000 square feet of wall space, with textured surfaces that respond realistically to climber's hands and feet and fill their nostrils with simulated rock smells.
Vertical Dreams' staff of veteran climbers teaches students one-on-one or in groups. In beginner lesson packages, instructors show aspiring climbers the figurative and literal ropes involved in belaying, climbing, and knot tying, and the teachers in advanced top-roping and sport-climbing classes push their students' abilities to climb solo or in a lead position.
Film buffs across six states stare wide-eyed at large cinema screens, losing themselves in first-run Hollywood movies and the smell of fresh, buttery kernels within Your Neighborhood Theatre's 17 locations. Though all theaters prioritize comfortable seating, old-fashioned friendly service, and high-stakes preshow trivia slideshows, each location encompasses its own distinct charm, be it through arthouse décor, 3-D screens, or Rhode Island's vintage 1950's drive-in setting.
Sneaking up the ridge, the players prepare to storm the multilevel Castle Anthrax, a wooden fortress where defenders lurk in its 20,000-square-foot interior and ready their counterattack. The castle is one of seven outdoor playing fields at AG Paintball, which has been featured on WMUR's "New Hampshire Chronicle." Amid forest terrain, participants duck into huts, snipe opponents from behind paint-splattered barrels, and trick the guard sphinxes into unveiling one of the multiple entrances to the Octagon. Updated annually with new fields, the facility hosts both novice and experienced players and matches those of equal experience and skill for games in varying styles of play. After their bouts, guests can restock supplies in the pro shop, commission repairs from the onsite gunsmith, or grill some burgers in the covered patio area, where those 21 and older can also enjoy BYOB privileges once all gear is returned.
Crab Apple Whitewater sends adventure seekers on river-bound thrill rides daily from early April through mid-October using inflatable kayaks for Class I–II rapids and larger group rafts for Class II–IV rapids. Crab Apple Whitewater charts routes through the Berkshire Mountains on rivers such as the Deerfield, making use of natural flows and daily dam releases in order to control the challenge for kayakers and rafters of all skill levels. Trips are consistent due to dam control, but vary based on interpretations of fortunes found in the guide’s tea leaves the night before. All adventurers strap on provided helmets and life jackets and attend a safety lecture prior to casting off.